Tweet of the Day: @rainnwilson


Video Fridays: Weird Beard Journey

So, apparently, my Video Fridays installment for today actually went viral in 2009, making‘s Top 10 Viral Videos list, but…

…I never saw it.

I hang my blogger head in shame.

But seriously, this is an incredible video, no matter what year it is, and I enjoyed it immensely. It tickles my traveling bone, stirring up my desire to explore, reminding me that I haven’t gone on a trip outside of the U.S. since the family and I visited Costa Rica in January 2010. (We’re finally planning another trip, likely somewhere in Europe in June 2013. Hooray!)

Anyway, the guy behind this video, Christoph Rehage, had an amazing vision, deciding to document his trip across China the way he did, taking nearly daily photos and video of himself for the entire year, and it comes together as quite a spectacle.

Truly, if this doesn’t inspire and make you want to get out and see strange new lands and people, I don’t know what else will.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Tweet of the Day: @AmazingPics

I don’t know about you, but jelly fish freakin’ freak me the freak out!

I will not be at all surprised if, one day, we find out that they are of superior intelligence and are hellbent on taking over the planet.

Check out these scary photos…if you have the nerve!

Eyecatchers: A VERY Different Kind of Mobile Home

Now THIS is incredibly cool!

Via Inhabitat, I’ve come across this amazing tiny house, built on a trailer bed, in which five skiers/snowboarders lived, as they traveled around the U.S. and Canada in search of the best fresh powder they could find.

And the kicker, a killer surprise, it turns out that I know one of the skiers, a guy who helped my wife and I build a rock climbing wall in our home.

Anyway, it’s one thing to dream up an idea like this, but it really comes down to implementation, and this structure is nothing short of tremendously rad!

With only 112 square feet of space, which breaks down to a mere 22.4 square feet per person, space-saving measures like a sleeping loft, minimalist spiral staircase, mini-kitchenette, and a tiny wood-burning stove, make the space surprisingly functional. But, what I think is special, is that this house was built with great attention to detail as well as aesthetics. This could have been simply, ugly shack, but the carpentry is exquisite, with elegant trim touches, and the tiny front porch is an incredibly cute touch.

Here are some more photos (click on the images to enlarge), along with the 20-minute video about the project:

Benjie Howard Update

A little over a month ago, I wrote about a friend of mine, Benjie Howard, whose new album, Secrets Like Bones, I’ve been enjoying immensely.

At that writing, Benjie was working on making the album available for purchase, and today I’m excited to announce that it finally is, via download at iTunes and Amazon.

Additionally, if you are a Spotify user, you can stream the album using the Spotify app.

As I wrote last month, Benjie’s a wonderful songwriter, and I highly recommend his warm, honest, heartfelt music.

And, in case you missed my last post, here’s the only video currently available, a beautiful duet with Gentri Watson, titled Pretty Lights.

Thank You, Electric Guitar Distortion!

Dear Electric Guitar Distortion,

Oh, how I do so love thee!

I am writing to belatedly thank you, Electric Guitar Distortion (EGD), for all of the many years you’ve been there for me.

There are very few things that I’ve experienced in my 48 years that have been as dependable as you, EGD. It seems that whatever might be going on for me — trials, tribulations, joys and ecstasies, hard work or hijinx — you’ve provided the perfect soundtrack.

While the untrained or stodgy ear might cringe upon hearing you, I feel sorry for them, for they may never come to know just how versatile you are, EGD. They may never appreciate how you can be, by turns, intense and angry, boisterous and triumphant, sweet and soaring.

Some, for instance, might call you ugly, EGD. But I know better, for I’ve been in the bars and the giant stadiums, where you were just about the only thing that could rise above the din of the crowd, and rise you did, in crescendos of the most beautiful noise, from piercing solos to power chords, a symphony of sound from one guitar, one distortion pedal, and one amplifier.

And oh the many feelings you seem to fit right in with, from righteous indignation and rage, to love and heartache, from mourning to celebration.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you, Electric Guitar Distortion! In your honor, I now present a small sample of your greatness, as I proceed to begin my work week.


Video Fridays: My President

It’s been quite a week.

I truly wasn’t sure if President Obama, my choice in 2008 and again this year (as I wrote a few weeks ago), would be re-elected, and that scared me. Having made it through the many nightmares of George W. Bush, and to see the economy finally recovering from the disastrous mess Bush Jr. left behind — thanks to our first-ever African American president — it was terrifying and tremendously sad to think about the possibility that this election might result in another right wing, white male millionaire in the White House.

And so, Tuesday’s outcome was a monumental relief, a triumph! Obama’s coalition, including large majorities of people of color, Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ communities, is truly representative, a real cross-section of America.

As I mentioned two weeks ago, no, I don’t like every single thing the president has done in his first term. Some of these are VERY serious issues, like a weakened stance on climate change (though he re-committed to tackling this in his victory speech), and various national security issues such as indefinite detention.

And yet, when I think about what Barack Obama mostly stands for, when I think about the insane opposition he has faced, laced as it’s been with subtle and not-so-subtle racism, when I think about how, nearly every time he makes a speech, I am filled with a deep sense that he’s a very real, sensitive, caring, committed, hopeful human being, when I think about him as a husband, father, son of a single mother, a man of color, when I think of all that, I feel incredibly fortunate to call him MY president.

For this week’s Video Fridays installment, then, I feel moved to share the following clip, President Obama’s address to his campaign staff the day after the election, because it illustrates so well the sentiments I’ve just expressed.

This is the President of the United States, but here he is exhausted from a grueling campaign, a campaign he had to wage while also running the country, here he is sharing a story from his past, not to brag about his accomplishments, but as self-deprecation, to compare himself at the age of 25 to many of the young adults on his staff, to compliment them for being far ahead of where he was at that age, to tell them how proud he is of them and how confident he is that they will now go out in the world and do amazing things, and it’s that thought that brings tears to his eyes, rather than simply expressing his gratitude for everything that they did for him.

I honestly can’t see how anyone could hate this man.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Must See: Spielberg’s Lincoln

When I saw the first stills released from behind the scenes of Steven Spielberg‘s new film on our beloved 16th president, stills of Daniel Day Lewis, in full Abraham Lincoln regalia, I was blown away by the likeness, and I knew, given my deep interest in this period in the history of our country, that I would HAVE to see the movie.

Then today, after having read the celebratory reviews, I watched the official trailer (see below) for the first time, and it gave me chills and moved me deeply, as this story always does, the story of a nightmare of a civil war, the battle to end slavery, and the tragic, premature loss of a great leader.

So, yes, definitely a must-see.

Tweet of the Day: #Election 2012

In honor of Election Day here in the U.S…

Stuff We Need: Better Wind Turbines, Part II

Back in May 2010, I wrote about the conflict between conventional windmill turbines and avian wildlife.

And while my research into the issue revealed that wind turbine blades don’t actually harm that many birds and bats, way fewer, in fact, than are harmed by automobiles and by birds flying into building windows, any harm, in my view is too much.

It’s now been over two years since I read at Inhabitat about a Nikola Tesla-inspired blade-less wind turbine that seemed to be a good solution, but I’ve not heard any news since on that technology.

Today, however, Inhabitat reports on yet another new turbine design, the Saphonian, this one by Tunisian company Saphon Energy, also a blade-less device, but modeled after sails rather than a Tesla concept.

This design shares three features with the previously reported Fuller Wind Turbine. Not only is it a considerably more efficient technololgy, harnessing MUCH more wind energy, 80% compared to the 30% captured by conventional windmills, it also cheaper to manufacture and it’s safer for birds.

Additionally, the Saphonian is reportedly a silent device, addressing a common complaint by opponents of windmill-based wind farms.

It’s been two years between the reports on these two technologies, so let’s just hope that two years from now we finally see installations of expansive wind farms utilizing these designs, rather than just another report on just another new alternative.

Judging just by Saphon’s much fancier website, compared to the one for the Fuller, and the fact that Saphon’s backer was featured in the 2012 TED Talk below, perhaps Saphon does have the kind of momentum needed to make the leap from concept to implementation.